When I was a youth pastor, I led with a vision to raise up an entire generation of young people who had guts. Students who would stand up to their fears and become everything God intended them to become. I named the ministry “Generation 1:9.” It was a reference to Joshua 1:9 which says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
In my view, one thing that has the power to prevent any person from pursuing God’s purpose for their life is fear. Every person I know, including the guy I took a shower with with this morning, has to deal with fear on a regular basis.
In the past few months, I’ve allowed fear to dominate me more than ever. I’ve given into all kinds of lies, doubts and deception…all rooted in fear. The Lord recently reminded me that the phrase “do not fear” is one of the most frequent commands in the Bible. Of course, it’s probably because He knows that giving into your fears is the gateway to all kinds of wrong thinking and and ultimately leads us to settle for less than God’s best in our lives.
Here are seven things I’ve experienced as a result of fear:
#1 – Fear leads me into hiding. I hide the sin and shame in my life even though the Bible is very clear that I should confess and ask others to help.
#2 – Fear makes me passive about issues when God wants me to be aggressive.
#3 – Fear causes me to seek everyone else’s approval when all I really need is Jesus’ approval.
#4 – Fear causes me to not engage in social justice, serve the outcasts, or include those who are different. (Because when I do that it gets messy, and some people don’t like messy)
#5 – Fear causes me to shut up even when I KNOW that I should speak up.
#6 – Fear causes me to refuse to repent of something even when God is CLEARLY pointing it out to me as something that needs to change.
#7 – Fear causes me to take over and control things that I should be trusting the Lord (and others) with instead. (If you’ve ever referred to yourself as a control freak, it’s a sign that you have a fear problem that God wants to deal with!!).
I heard a rumor once that the Bible commanded us not to fear 365 times, which would be once for every day of the year. Although I personally cannot find 365 references to this statement in the Bible, it still begs the question:
What would change about our lives if we decided to not to fear every day? How would that impact our relationships? Our social life? Our thought life? Our private life?
Today I’m praying this prayer for all of us: “Jesus, give us the courage to be honest with ourselves and help us identify every area of our life that is rooted in fear. May we live with an awareness of the impact of fear in our daily lives, and be willing to do whatever it takes to uproot it. Today we choose courage. Amen”